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Gallant Says More than 100 Gaza Terrorists Surrendered as International Court Rules on Israeli 'Genocide'

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JERUSALEM, Israel – The Israeli military says the city of Khan Younis in southern Gaza is now completely encircled, and IDF forces are taking control in the city center. Defense Minister Yoav Gallant visited the a unit of the Combat Engineering Corps inside Gaza Thursday and praised their work, saying that more than 100 terrorists had come out of the tunnels to surrender in the past two days.

Gallant acknowledged that the Yahalom unit had "paid a heavy price" for the advances, but claimed, "They (Hamas) have hundreds of dead who were struck underground as a result of your activities and those of your friends.

Retired General Amir Avivi told CBN News the campaign in Khan Younis is unprecedented.

“I don't recall a fight in the history of Israel where we launched seven brigades to one area. They are advancing very well, destroying Hamas positions and basically destroying the Hamas brigade in Khan Younis, closing more and more on the leadership of Hamas. And I'm really hopeful that in the next coming weeks, we'll see a big strategic shift as we take over this area.”

The IDF believes Hamas Gaza Leader Yehyah Sinwar is hiding in Khan Younis.

An IDF spokesman told CBN News it had determined an incident where a United Nations (UNRWA) building was hit Thursday was not the result of an air or artillery strike, and is reviewing its ground operations. The military is also examining the possibility the building was hit by Hamas fire.

Nine people died in the incident, with many more injured.

Despite the incident, The New York Times reported the number of Gazan deaths has dropped dramatically since Israel changed its tactics on the ground several weeks ago.

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On the Jewish holiday of Tu B'Shvat Thursday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu planted a tree at the Re'im IDF base attacked by Hamas on October 7th. Tu B'Shvat, called the "New Year of the Trees," celebrates the connection of the Jewish people to the land of Israel.

“Therefore, on Tu B'Shvat here, next to the Gaza Strip, I say it as clearly as possible: there is no alternative to deepening our roots and their is no substitute for total victory over our enemies," Netanyahu declared.

In the meantime, President Joe Biden dispatched C.I.A. Director William Burns to meet with Israeli and Qatari leaders to work on an ambitious deal to release all the Hamas-held hostages in exchange for an extended pause in the fighting.

The meeting was complicated by a leaked audio of Netanyahu criticizing Qatar during a gathering with hostage families.

“Why do they have leverage? Because they (Qatar) are funding them (Hamas)," Netanyahu said. "I was very angry recently and I did not hide it from the Americans, as they renewed the contract of the military base they have with Qatar. 'Why did you not say anything? I am asking you to return the hostages to us, this is pressure! Why? Because Qatar has pressure on Hamas. First of all, put pressure on Qatar.'”

Yigal Carmon, Founder of MEMRI (the MIddle East Media and Research Institute) told CBN News Qatar is being disingenuous in the negotiations.

“Yes, Hamas is Qatar and Qatar is Hamas," Carmon asserted. "The leaders are there for years, and billions of dollars were funneled to Gaza to build tunnels, five hundred kilometers of tunnels.” 

Carmon added, “Unfortunately, this is not known because Qatar, this emirate, which is very rich, is playing a double game – a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde game. They pretend to be modern, modernized, Westernized – you know – look at the skyline of downtown, looks like somewhere (in) New York. “They think it's an economic entity, basically. And that's it. No, it's where a hub (is), the entity that seeks to unite all Muslims under the flag of seventh century Islam.”

In The Hague, the International Criminal Court hands down its ruling Friday on South Africa's genocide charges against Israel. The court is to decide whether to grant emergency measures against Israel following accusations by South Africa that the Israeli military operation in Gaza is a state-led genocide.

The possible emergency measures would act as a restraining order while the court looks at the full case, which could take years.

Saturday marks the first Global International Holocaust Remembrance Day since the October 7th massacres. One recent study compared Nazi and Islamist ideologies share similar views. Hamas committed the worst massacre of Jews on October 7th since the Holocaust, causing many allies of the Jewish people to declare "Never again is now."

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